Yesterday, I received a gift in the mail from a friend of mine. She said that she saw the owl necklace and thought of me. That’s why she picked it up. That’s why she sent it to me.

I’m touched. People don’t really do that for me. Certainly, some people who listen to me do give me gifts based on what they know about me. This is great. There are some people who give generic gifts that they buy for all their friends. This is not so great. I can feel the impersonalness of the item. I know that it’s just a gift for the sake of giving a gift. This is not the worst crime of gift-giving. The worst is when someone regifts the item you gave to that person.

Granted, it is fabulous to receive something that is actually intended for you.

That’s not what makes this particular gift so special. What makes this gift special is that my friend took the time out to synthesize my interests and characteristics. From there, she found an item that best represents me. In her synthesis, the discovered something that I did not know about myself. I would never associate a symbol of wisdom to my personhood, particularly at such a young age (Plutarch rules). For someone to see something about me that I don’t always see or am not aware of is the greatest gift. She gave me something that opened the way into my own awareness of self. And this awareness of self gives me the responsibility to take care in what I say in do. When I do this, when I know this, I am free. My friend gave me a little trinket that gave me a different way into my own freedom. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Wishing you happiness and the struggle.

Ariel Ceylan


Knowing it All

From my experience with my peers, I notice that there is an obsession with knowing it all. Not like knowing things from books, but knowing why people do things. Like if Luke grinds up on Michelle and Michelle is one of his good platonic friends and Becky sees this, Becky questions Luke’s behavior. Luke responds, it’s not a big deal, we’re just friends (fwb). It doesn’t mean anything, so chill out.

Becky will then take Luke’s explanation and say, oh, well that’s just Luke. That’s what Luke does. But is that really why? What is Luke really saying? He’s saying that his own body, his own sexuality is not a big deal. And why not, it’s not like he’s religious or anything. Is it possible to respect one’s self by not treating one’s own body like an amusement park for anyone who’s looking?

Luke said it all, didn’t he? Becky often won’t ask for anything more. Why not? If Becky knows the real reasons for Luke’s behavior (maybe he feels like he’s not capable of giving love to someone), then she would have to be somewhat responsible for empathizing with Luke and give him real life-advice. She would have to genuinely care for someone. Who would want that?

Share five things you’re thankful for.

1) I’m thankful for the opportunities afforded me by loving parents.
2) I’m thankful for the experiences I had that allowed me to be okay with being along.
3) I’m thankful for the gifts I have been given by the Great Spirits.
4) I’m thankful for the experiences I had that allowed me to understand and accept myself.
5) I’m thankful for the gift of education that USA grants its youth.

Ariel Ceylan